Tuesday, May 25, 2010

more proof modern art sucks...

... I was recently at an art event with a nice enough fellow. He suggested a gallery crawl in the local art district because he knew me well enough to know I love art, but not well enough to know I detest modern art. It's the thought that counts I suppose.

We came across this particular painting of really bad modern abstract art. Think Jackson Pollock having a seizure after ingesting LSD. A lot of LSD. Violent scribblings and stick figures. Of course I hated it, but when he asked me what I thought I had to squelch the urge to spit out my first response... you know those drawings done by mental patients when asked to draw "home". Yeah it looked like that, only worse. So I just said it was interesting.

He persisted. I felt cornered. Oh c'mon, years of studying art history and that's all you got, "interesting"! I felt challenged. So I rattled off some pseudo intellectual art babble about composition. Blah Blah Blah. The damn piece of ugliness wasn't even titled, it was pretentiously numbered [God, there were MORE than one of these!?], so I couldn't gather what the artist was trying to portray.

This guy would seriously not let it go. I felt like he was using it as some sort of date Rorschach art test, asking me repeatedly what I see.

Fine! You want to know what I "see"? It looks like dark twisted demons surrounding mutilated corpses or art therapy used on the psychotically disturbed. I told him it reminded me of my work in forensics and compared certain elements of the painting to an actual crime scene I witnessed. I got as graphic I could. On purpose.

He just looked at me with shock, frowned deeply and said "My God, you are dark."

The evening was down hill from there. This is precisely why you shouldn't encourage me to be myself, people. At least not right away.


Tim said...

But how else are you to cull the unworthy?

Rick said...

Anyone who cannot see beyond your sarcasm does not 'deserve' you. (I meant that positively.) Consider yourself spared from a lifetime of suspicions and tests. Instead of this veiled Rorschach pop psych evals, one needs to go through the dance of 'getting to know you' (The King & I). It's a long process, but I guess he's in a hurry; so, he may not be in it for the long haul.

The Crescat said...

No seriously, don't encourage my behavior. It is why I am still single. I am trying to soften my image. While your advice is nice it is not practical. I can't get a man to appreciate me or know me better if I continually scare them off right up to bat.

I think I am best handled in small doses. It's a dichotomy really, I enjoy the challenge and prefer stronger men with sharp personalities... but in the end we just become sparring partners. That's no good.

Rick said...

Then I recommend Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends & Influence People".

fuinseoig said...

That guy's reaction reminds me of a joke!

A man goes to see a clinical psychologist. After completing the clinical interview, the clinical psychologist decides that he will administer the Rorschach Inkblot test. The clinical psychologist shows the man the first inkblot and he says he sees a man and a woman making love at the beach. In the second, a man and a woman making love in a hot-tub. The third, he says has a man and a woman making love in a park. In all of the inkblots, the man sees a couple making love. At the end of the test, the clinical psychologist looks over his notes and says, "You seem to have a preoccupation with sex." The man replies, "Me? You're the one with the dirty pictures."

You're dark? What about the artist with all those morbid pictures?


steve said...

It is why I am still single.

eh. sort of, but probably not how you think.

you know I won't blow smoke up your ass like your readers if you really want to know the reasons. :-)

The Crescat said...

I do.

Shark Bait said...

He just looked at me with shock, frowned deeply and said "My God, you are dark."

You see when I say that, I mean it as a pick-up line.

Just saying. :-)

Badger Catholic said...

LOL, at least you didn't go blind from repeatedly having to look at it.

God's Will.

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

First, about the sarcasm/snark:

Our family has had a rampant problem with it, and it's starting to manifest itself in potentially negative ways in our older daughter (11 1/2). I have instituted a "Snark Jar" for us all. If we're snarky, someone can call us on it, and we have to put money in. 25¢ for the girls, $1 for adults. When my daughter and husband wondered aloud what we'd do with it, I was inspired (seriously) to answer, "If we can't be charitable in speech, we'll be charitable with money. It goes to the parish." When I told our pastor, he winked at me and said, "By all means, be snarky!" Hey, they've got to pay for the big parking lot addition somehow, right?

As far as your loser date. Doesn't matter if he didn't know about your hatred of modern art. What matters is that he's dumber than a box of rocks. Anyone who can't take the hints that you were CLEARLY trying to give is obviously not smart enough to be with you. Seriously, I'm certain that a half-wit could have managed to "get" that you were trying to be charitable about the awful so-called art. And as far as being dark ... how dark was the actual piece? Dark "artwork" can't produce interpretations of lightness and air.

See? If I was saying this in front of my kids, they'd make me put another dollar in the jar. I have contributed more than anyone else, BTW. Including $2-3 for yelling at Little Girl's dance instructor in front of the children.

Anyway, it sounds to me like he just wasn't bright enough. And the right man will be willing to help you change yourself - if that's what you want. Otherwise, he'll love you for who you are.

Mark said...

Just curious... this guy was acting more than somewhat prickish (dense, patronizing, etc.) and not picking up on the not so subtle clues that you truly thought the painting a reeking POS, but you were politely avoiding saying so out of concern for his feelings. And you're the one feeling insecure and inferior.

I'm ordinarily pretty reticent to give advice, so at the risk of being a little prickish myself, I'll add my 2... (OMG I just noticed there's no "cent" sign on the modern keyboard).

In this example it would have been completely appropriate to turn around, give this idiot an "are you fucking crazy?" look and politely ask, "Why is it so important to you that I have a strong opinion on this painting?"

I'd venture to guess that once you meet a guy, you stop being you. You know the dance. You stop saying what you think, opting instead for what you think he wants to hear. Don't get me wrong. There's no reason to be cruel or hostile, but really.

Strong, confident guys like to be around strong, confident women. The first thing that attracted me to my wife is that on a dating service video, she stated that the ultimate first date would be a tractor pull (talk about baiting the hook with guano.) But the thing that hooked me was on our first date, we visited a Barnes & Noble. She picked up a book by a truly shrill feminist, and I made the typical, macho dick head, sarcastic remark. Steph's response? "The chick whines a little too much for my taste." Seriously, I took out three book cases on my way to the floor.

You've got it going on. This blog shows it. And you've got an edge that makes you interesting. Use it. Flaunt it. And start spending less time with losers.

Old Bob said...

To get the ¢ sign hold down the Alt key while typing 155 on the numeric keypad.

Kat, I like the art you have posted, because the great masters were able craftsmen first. Anyone can slosh paint (or ?) onto a canvas haphazardly.

Joseph M said...

Not saying you're doing this (how would I know?) but it's a mistake to think you have to have LOADS in common with your spouse.

I'm Catholic, read books, sing and play the piano, and am into basketball. Ya know what - I've been happily married for 23 years to a woman who is Catholic, reads books, doesn't really care for my singing or piano playing and couldn't care less about sports.

The point? you don't have to hit it off on every point - get the Catholic and reads books part right (in our case), and the rest is trivia.

Oh, and art? My beloved actually compared Georgia O'Keeffe favorably to Van Gogh one time. Seriously, can you imagine? Somehow, I manages to love her anyway. ;-)

Lola said...

Remember that movie, "Prelude to a Kiss"?

I actually think it proves two things, boys are boys and girls are girls no matter what the intention of the movie really was, and secondly when a man is smitten, it's precisely because she's who she is. Rita was dark and depressive on top of being an insomniac. She got the guy anyway and ultimately it was her essense.

Another movie, I think DeNero plays a crime scene photographer who blows the photos up for "Art". I can't remember what the name of that movie was...

I bet the art was exactly like you described it. And your date pushed too hard for your opinion.

Marco de Puna said...

Why didn't you just say you left your eyeglasses at home and could see the piece of cr*p well enough to comment on it, then quickly ask him to share his "profound impressions" of the piece and quickly add how really really really thristy your are for a triple scotch and you know the best place to get one within the next three minutes- that way 1.
you're back on safe ground 2. you flatter the twit 3. you get a free drink :)

The Crescat said...

Joseph, I know I don't have to be on point with a potential spouse on every issue & interest.

Mark, I can admit you are right, to an extent.


3puddytats said...

A dating service that I was a member of a few years back had an interesting nugget of advice---have first meeting be "lunchtime" or "coffee break" meetings....that way they are brief, usually no alcohol involved, you don't get too relaxed or tired and let your guard down, (I tend to babble too) and you have a real easy escape excuse (Have to get back to work)...I admit it was nice to get a lttle "bit" of someone new rather than spend an entire evening getting a brutal life history and feeling obligated to stay because he bought dinner...and I got ALOT more second dates, even though my "date" outfits were business suits :)

Good luck.. Sara

Mark said...

to an extent.... of course I'm right. just ask the digi. she'll confirm. there is no victory in meekness.

shadowlands said...

'there is no victory in meekness'

mmmm.... inheriting the earth is a kind of victory, surely?

Agnes B Bullock said...

Crescat- TRUST ME!!!!! Be yourself, period. I thought that I should 'soften" my edges (and mine are far worse than yours)- this does NOT work. You are only hiding your light under a bush and then the man gets annoyed, or worse, when he realizes. If a man cannot understand you on a date, then he never will.

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

One last thing, OT, re: cent sign.

If you're on a Mac, use the Option key (or ALT if you're on a Windows keyboard with your Mac, like me) and then press the 4 key (where the $ lives).

¢ Viola!

The Digital Hairshirt said...

But then, my husband Mark is a vicious sociopath. But he knows how to smoke a pig real fine, so I keep him around.

Linda said...

I think he deserved the answer he got for badgering you. Some people can't leave well enough alone.

SherryTex said...

I think the guy deserved the smack down for being unwilling to let go of the moment and badger you but I'm someone who finds that sort of stuff annoying.

So want to introduce you to my brother. Single, 39, teacher of English at a Catholic high school; plays in a band, directs plays, runs and bikes but loves food more.

Babs said...

Not to go off topic, but the tips for making the cents sign are not working on my windows laptop.

Cat - would you like a guy you are dating to act phony just to get your attention and approval?

Robert said...

@ Old Bob,
Thanks for the tip.
Young Bob.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

If you start out up front about who you are and what you are about, you wouldn't have to waste time trawling through crowds of losers like this idiot.

P said...

Bad Cat! You get two squirts from the water bottle! :)

Let's go back to St. Thomas: "In all things look to the end."

A guy takes you to the art event. WHY? You already admitted you know the answer: because he (incorrectly) thought you would like it. He was trying to build rapport.

You also admitted that it was the thought that counts. Did you act on that?

You had two options: 1. let his means failure (wrong choice of activity) become ends failure (no building of rapport) by trying to hide his means failure through insincerity.

2. Acknowledge his correct intention and reward him for it.

Obviously, you know which one you picked :)

Instead, what if you had said right out at the get-go, "Gosh, I hate modern art. Let's go make fun of it together!" And then had a competition to see who could come up with weirder origins for each piece ("this one was when they stuck paint brushes up the asses of 18 howler monkeys and trapped them in a cage full of canvas!") and told him that if he won (as judged by you, which he would) he got to kiss you at the end of the night?

What does this accomplish?

A. It creates an "Our World" scenario. The two of you, moving amidst a bunch of pretentious modern art lovers, sharing an in joke.

B. It rewards correct behavior. Guy operating on limited information, tries to create a meaningful experience for you. Good idea, unfortunate gap in information throws it awry. But it should still be encouraged, because as time goes on he'll know you better.

C. It shows you're low maintenance. Think about it. This guy has this grand plan to really impress you by coming up with a memorable night doing something you'll love (or so he thinks). It totally crashes and burns. How much does that have to suck for him? Of course, since you chose option #1, all he can do is go through the night dragging you sullenly along, wondering WTF he did wrong. Why do you think he kept pushing you on the art opinion?

However, if you had chosen option #2, the message would have been, "yeah, your plan totally sucked as it turns out, but I'm going to roll with it and not hold it against you, and we'll have fun tonight anyway."

So as for your self-pitying "I can't be myself, at least not right away" BS - I'm calling you on it. You WEREN'T yourself right away. You were yourself only when pushed into the corner, because you spent the first half of the night trying to present a polite facade built out of horse crap and fear.

And since you were only yourself when trapped and cornered, what came out was your worst self: the frustrated, challenged, craven, bitter self. The results are unsurprising.

So the lessen is, bring out your real self right away, when you can bring her out easily, funnily, and relaxed!


Again, hope this helps...

The Crescat said...

P... will you come on my dates with me?

"Again, hope this helps..."

More like invaluable!

P said...

The commute might be a bit much, but I'm always happy to critique your after-action reports :)

Gregory said...

man, dating really sucks.
all this advise from well intentioned folks
I think a hermit's life in a cave sounds better all the time...

Barbara said...

Hey! A very similar thing happened to me on a date. On the back of the program to the show we were about to see was a picture of a huge Joan Miro sculpture and my date (it was a blind date, btw) asked me what I thought of it. I offered what I thought was a reasonable, and, if I can say so, educated critique- just a few sentences but you know I DIG ART. The date was really taken aback. It turns out he was horrified by my opinionated nature. After finding out that he knew nothing about car care and, as an accountant, hated to do taxes, I asked him, "How do you get dates... oh, yeah. Are all your dates *blind* dates?"

Never saw him again.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

What is all this "dating" anyway? I've never understood the word. The whole thing seems like bullshit from start to finish.

Why not just "get to know people" instead?

It's a lot more honest.